BT do not provide or maintain the external network. This is done by Openreach who work for all service providers. BT do not get any special treatment.
Openreach have a backlog of work due to the recent bad weather, so installation and repairs are taking much longer than normal.
"Are BT actually in contact with OpenReach" What an extremely good question. We have been waiting over a month now and if only someone from OpenReach would just say we will turn up on so and so date we would be happy but absolutely nothing happens.